In this time of societal turmoil and with a device at-the-ready in most of our pockets, it’s way too easy to slide toward “checking the news” — again and again and again throughout the day. Which makes it way too easy to obsess about all the horrific, panic-inducing, violent things that are going on, popping us into adrenaline, fight-or-flight, sleeplessness, worry … gotta break that loop!
I’m a big believer that you can’t simply “quit” a bad habit — you’ll be more successful in your quest for change if you instead replace that bad habit with something different, something that propels you in the direction you really hope to go.
We’re change-makers. We need to clear our minds, free our creativity, and let our hopes shine out. The world desperately needs that little bit of sparkle you can share. But the source of your sparkle needs replenishment, it needs refilling, and sometimes it needs to see the sparkle of others.
The difference from conventional news
This isn’t to say “crawl into a hole and disregard all that’s going on.” Rather, I’m saying: keep yourself connected to the fullness of what’s going on in the world — in other words, don’t overlook the other half.
Conventional news cycles run on a 24-7-365 news cycle, which means they need Something Happening constantly in order to report about it. And they seek something Spectacular, which will generate clicks (click-bait). And they seek something which generates strong emotions, which will drive those clicks, so sadly, that often means they report about all the violence.
Good news stories don’t work that way. Good news stories grow at the pace of Mother Nature — think of the unfurling of a bean seed. It’s not Spectacular, it’s slow and steady. There’s plenty to say, but conventional reporters rarely go there (see prior paragraph). That means the good news is often self-reported. But since its creators are busy creating, they’re not necessarily reporting all that often.
As a result, you need to follow a lot of good news sources in order to get yourself a good little feed coming at you.
Why do we turn to doomscrolling?
I think it’s our subconscious searching for relief: “when will it all get better?” We’re searching desperately for morsels, signs, that things are getting back to the patterns we once knew. But, things will never go back to the old (misshapen) “normal.” Rather it’s up to us to find a new balance.
Better yet, this is our moment to push forward, toward our dreams about what the new future night be.
And for that, we ‘re going to need reinforcements, we need to know we’re part of a (worldwide) team, we need to keep tabs on what all those other change-makers are doing. And we need the lift that their good news stories can bring us.
So let’s do it, shall we?
How to create a Happy News feed
Make a list: what makes you feel hopeful? what brings you even one tiny droplet of joy? Is it art? music? flowers? poetry? woodcrafting? people doing something you’re trying to skill up on? This isn’t a one-time question, it’s a perpetual question, a perpetual list for you to begin building and continue adding to.
What have you seen out in the world that you admire? Where do you see tiny hints of the new future coming to life? Add those sources to your list.
Who writes words, or publishes photographs, or makes dance videos, whatever, that inspire you, or that you simply enjoy?
Collect all these ideas. Like I said above, begin your collection and keep adding to it, each time you happen upon a new one.
I keep my lists in several places: (1) my Instagram account, (2) InoReader, (3) email subscriptions. All three of these are accessible from both my laptop and my phone, and I’m training myself to go to these first, INSTEAD OF going to those dire, doom-focused news sites.
When you have a source of Happy News, it helps keep you optimistic. It helps you see all the good things that are going on in the world, all of the ways that people are creating positive change, all the future-oriented ideas they are implementing.
Here’s how I do it. Also, here are a bunch of what I think are among the best environmental feeds to follow — I’ve selected these feeds because the content creators show an understanding of parts of The Great Turning.
I think of my Instagram feed as my Happy Feed. I like color pictures, especially of gardens, and there’s plenty to be found on the platform.
I don’t adhere to the typical “follow for follow” practice. Instead I only follow (subscribe to) accounts that bring me joyful pictures.
I follow a variety of creators: gardeners, farmers, seedsavers, community gardens, local activists, change-makers, poets, visual artists, ceramicists, knitters, yarnbombers, dancers (and quite a few recipe sites).
That means at any moment I can open the app and see lots of gardens, vegetables, flowers, community action, creative projects … definitely hope-inspiring!
A note about Instagram: they do push ads at you. I view it as a game: Instagram gave me the power to express my opinion, so I do! in the upper right of every post, there is a 3-dot pulldown. I click “Hide Ad” / “It’s irrelevant” for most things. For airlines and Big Banks and auto manufacturers I click “Report Ad” / “offensive” 🙂 For fast food I click “report ad” / “misleading”. It gives me great joy to decline these things which are so far off base for the direction of a liveable future. As a mark of my success: at this point many of the ads served to me are for seeds, flowers, garden equipment, knitting yarn!
InoReader is a free feed aggregator, a site which compiles the posts from many blogs or news services. I’m sure there are many similar services out there, but when I was searching I liked the format of this one best.
I use InoReader to create my own personal “newspaper.” I have the InoReader app on my phone, so I can read it from anywhere.
Through InoReader I follow a variety of writers: magazine type sites, local activists and community gardens, poetry sites …